Singapore_River Latitude and Longitude:

1°17′15″N 103°51′11″E / 1.28750°N 103.85306°E / 1.28750; 103.85306
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Singapore River
Singapore River flowing through Singapore's central business district.
Early 19th century map of the Singapore River basin.
Native name
  • Sungai Singapura ( Malay)
  • 新加坡河 ( Chinese)
  • சிங்கப்பூர் நதி ( Tamil)
Country  Singapore
Physical characteristics
 • location Alexandra Canal
 • location
Marina Channel
Length3.2 km (2.0 mi)
Singapore River
Other transcription(s)
 •  Chinese新加坡河
Xīnjiāpō hé ( Pinyin)
Sin-ka-pho hô ( Hokkien POJ)
 •  MalaySungai Singapura ( Rumi)
سوڠاي سيڠاڤورا ( Jawi)
 •  Tamilசிங்கப்பூர் நதி
Ciṅkappūr nati ( Transliteration)
Location in Central Region
Location in Central Region
Country  Singapore
Region Central Region
Town council
  • Tanjong Pagar Town Council
  • Jalan Besar Town Council
DGP exhibited
PA incorporated
  • 22 January 1999 [1]
 • MayorCentral Singapore CDC
 • Members of ParliamentTanjong Pagar GRC

Jalan Besar GRC

 • Total0.96 km2 (0.37 sq mi)
 • Rank52nd
 • Total3,070
 • Rank32nd
 • Density3,200/km2 (8,300/sq mi)
  • Rank31st
Postal district
01, 03, 06, 09, 10

The Singapore River is a river that flows parallel to Alexandra Road and feeds into the Marina Reservoir in the southern part of Singapore. The immediate upper watershed of the Singapore River is known as the Singapore River Planning Area, although the western part of the watershed is classified under the River Valley planning area.

Singapore River planning area sits within the Central Area of the Central Region of Singapore, as defined by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The planning area shares boundaries with the following – River Valley and Museum to the north, Tanglin and Bukit Merah to the west, Outram to the south, and the Downtown Core to the east.

Since 2008, the Singapore River was turned into a fresh water river after the completion of the Marina Barrage at Marina South.


Singapore river at River Valley. Facing South.

The Singapore River is approximately 3.2 kilometers long [2] from its source at Kim Seng Bridge to where it empties into Marina Bay; the river extends more than two kilometers beyond its original source at Kim Seng Bridge as Alexandra Canal, as far as the junction of Commonwealth Avenue. [3]


The mouth of the Singapore River was the old Port of Singapore, being naturally sheltered by the southern islands. Historically, the city of Singapore initially grew around the port so the river mouth became the centre of trade, commerce and finance.

Old maps of the river state that it actually originates from Bukit Larangan (currently Fort Canning Hill).

Heavy traffic

Commercial skyscrapers across the Singapore River

Starting in 1819, there was heavy traffic on the Singapore River due to rapid urbanization and expanding trade. [4] At the same time, it brought in water pollution caused by the disposal of garbage, sewage and other by-products of industries located along the river's banks. The sources of water pollution in the Singapore River and Kallang Basin included waste from pig and duck farms, unsewered premises, street hawkers and vegetable whole sellers. Riverine activities such as transport, boat building and repairs were also found along the Singapore River.

A river with many moored boats and a city skyline beyond
Singapore River in the early 1960s

Some 750 lighters plied along the Singapore River and Kallang Basin in 1977. Waste, oil spills and wastewater from these boats and lighters added to the pollution of the rivers. In 1977, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew called for a clean-up of Singapore's rivers, which included the Singapore River and the Kallang River. The clean-up cost the government $300 million at the time and involved the relocation of about 4,000 squatters, along with hawkers and vegetable sellers, whose daily waste flowed into the river. Public housing was found for the squatters, while street hawkers were persuaded to move to established hawker centres. The government then completely dredged foul-smelling mud from the banks and the bottom of the river, clearing the debris and other rubbish. [5]

Singapore River today

Due to such cleaning efforts, the Singapore River has significantly changed from one that was heavily busy and polluted to one that is clean for marine animals. The re-emergence of monitor lizards and otters in the Singapore River has been attributed to the success of the river's cleanup. [6] [7]

Whereas the original mouth of the Singapore River emptied into Singapore Straits and its southern islands before major land reclamation took place, the Singapore River now empties into Marina Bay – an area of water partially enclosed by the reclamation work.

The Port of Singapore is now located to the west of the island, using most of the south-west coast, and passenger ships to Singapore now typically berth at the Singapore Cruise Centre at Harbourfront. Thus the Singapore River's economic role has shifted away from one that of trade, towards more a role accommodated for tourism and aesthetics for the commercial zone which encloses it. Traversing across the river is available via water taxis. [8]

The river is now part of the Marina Reservoir after damming the Singapore River at its outlet to the sea to create a new reservoir of freshwater. The dam is known as the Marina Barrage. [9]


There are a number of sculptures along the Singapore River. [10] Many of these depict the life of people living and working along the river during the early days of Singapore.

Notable sculptures include: [11]

Bridges and tunnels

As viewed from what is now Marina Bay, Singapore, circa 1900s
Singapore river in River Valley facing North-west

Between 1819, when the first wooden jetty and the first bridge were built over the Singapore River in Singapore, and in 2015, 14 bridges were built across the river (or 17, although the Marina Reservoir, where the estuary is now located, is considered a Singapore River). Until 1819, the river could only be crossed by boats and ferries. Some of the bridges were demolished and rebuilt or their purpose was changed.

Singapore River at River Valley facing west

The first bridge in Singapore was built over the Singapore river in 1819 where the Elgin Bridge now stands. There have been two Elgin bridges at some point. The first iron-made Elgin Bridge was built in 1862 and named after Lord Elgin. It was later demolished and replaced with the current Elgin bridge in 1926. [12] Other bridges along the river include the Coleman Bridge (1840), Kim Seng Bridge (1862), Cavenagh Bridge (1869), and Read Bridge (1889). The most recent bridges are the Helix Bridge (2010), Bayfront Bridge (2010), and the Jubilee Bridge (2015).

Clarke Quay along the banks of the Singapore River



Panoramic view of the Singapore River


  1. ^ a b "Singapore Infopedia – Development guide plan". National Library Board.
  2. ^ Leary, Michael E.; McCarthy, John (2013-10-30). The Routledge Companion to Urban Regeneration. Routledge. p. 132. ISBN  9781136266546.
  3. ^ "Singapore River Cruise". Retrieved 2023-09-22.
  4. ^ "Singapore River". Heritage Trails. Archived from the original on 2009-08-22. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
  5. ^ migration (2014-07-04). "5 interesting facts about the Singapore River clean-up". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016-07-09.
  6. ^ "Cheeky otters are thriving in Singapore—and adapting quickly to big city life". National Geographic. March 10, 2020. Archived from the original on March 6, 2021.
  7. ^ Ng, Cherlynn (18 March 2022). "TGIF: Monitor lizards have a family feast along Kallang River". Stomp. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  8. ^ "Singapore River". Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  9. ^ "PUB annual report: Birth of the barrage". PUB. 2008. Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Sir Stamford Raffles statue and other sculptures along Singapore River to be cleaned next week". The Straits Times. Singapore. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
  11. ^ Ang, Benson (18 September 2016). "Sculptures by the Singapore River get a spruce up". The Straits Times. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Singapore Slider: Then & Now | The Straits Times". Singapore Slider: Then & Now | The Straits Times. Retrieved 2022-12-21.

External links

1°17′15″N 103°51′11″E / 1.28750°N 103.85306°E / 1.28750; 103.85306